Smart meter policy called 'extortion'

Fee to opt out penalizes those who feel their health is affected

The province has backed down on smart meters, but one local opponent of the wireless device vows the fight is far from over as long as people who opted out of the program have to pay a fee.

"I think the whole thing is a big money scam and I think we're the victims," said Petrina Gregson. "I think it's extortion."

Gregson has opposed smart meters since the province announced two years ago that every analog meter in B.C. needed to be replaced with one.

She and her husband even moved from Kamloops to Clearwater in order to escape the wireless signal the meters and other electronic devices emit. Gregson believes the electric and magnetic fields (EMF) they create affects her health and others.

"We have 10 acres. I don't have neighbours all around me with smart meters, and least that I hope won't affect me," said Gregson.

Even if people who are sensitive to EMF opt not to have a smart meter, they are still susceptible to the signals of those who do, she said.

That's why Gregson vows to "rally the troops," saying a fee is the government's way of penalizing those who don't want smart meters or who don't buy into research alleging the devices are harmless.

"We'll have to look into our rights on this one," she said.

Gregson also doesn't believe it's right that residents who had smart meters forced upon them can't return to an analog meter. She finds Bennett's suggestion that there aren't any of the old meters left suspect.

She said analog meters work fine, and people shouldn't be punished for wanting to use them.

"The fight's not over," said Gregson.

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